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Planting your first vegetable garden is not as hard as you might think. Check out these 10 easy steps to get you growing. Gardening for beginners is lots of fun!
Learning where to start can seem daunting, but you can do this. Just a little planning and some elbow grease and you’ll be growing food in no time.
Steps to plant a garden
For your first vegetable garden, you’ll have to start with choosing a site. The location needs full sun, access to water, and plenty of space that is within sight of where you’ll be part of the day. There’s nothing worse than a garden you can’t keep your eyes on. You’ll forget and that garden will be lost.
Decide what to grow. What do you like to eat? What grows well in your area? If you hate turnips, don’t grow them. You’ll want to enjoy eating what you produce in your garden. Also, think about the ease of growing. Choose some of the easiest plants to grow from this list.
Make a list of what you decide to grow and see when it grows in your area. Draw a map of your garden and add plants to see what you’ll be able to fit.
My first vegetable garden
Check planting dates and make a schedule for when you need to plant what. You don’t plant everything at the same time. Planting times are listed on seed packets. Seed catalogs are a wealth of information for when things grow. If you live in zone 7 or one close to that, check out this month by month planting guide to help you.
Prepare your soil. You can get your soil tested to see what it needs. All soil needs organic matter, so add some compost. It’s easier to add this in the fall and let it get churned in by the worms than to have to till it in yourself, but you do what works for you. Check out the dirty secrets to soil success here.
Steps to planting seeds
Plant seeds or plants. Follow your schedule and put seeds in the ground according to the depth and spacing the packages or seedling markers indicate. Don’t make the mistake of trying to put in too much, you’ll get fewer things to harvest if your garden is too overcrowded.
Some plants are better planted as seedlings such as tomatoes and peppers. Plant seeds twice as deep as they are wide, so if you have a tiny seed, just sprinkle soil over the top, if you have a large seed, make a hole and bury it deeper. Plant seedlings at the same soil line they are in their pots with the exception of tomatoes, plant those deeper.
Once your seeds, tubers, sets, or plants are planted, add water. For how much water your garden needs, check this out. Make sure when it gets hot you are watering more. And too much or too little water is the worst thing for your garden. Don’t water too hard, use a gentle spray.
Keep an eye on weeds. Make sure Bermuda grass doesn’t choke out your veggies. Weed early and often for best results. Here is more about weeding without using chemical sprays.
If your plants turn yellow or get spindly, they may need more nutrients. You can water them with fish emulsion or compost tea for a quick boost. You can top dress with more compost and let the water rinse that in slowly. You can also do another soil test for what nutrients may be missing.
Lastly, it’s time to harvest. This is the most fun part of gardening. How to know when your produce is ripe will be a big help for you, so check it out here. It’s fun to weigh and photograph your gorgeous food to remember what you did year over year.
Here is a guide to saving as much as you can of what you grow for use even when you have an excess of something. If you can’t use it all, be sure to share with those that don’t grow or can’t afford food at all. The homeless shelter and soup kitchens will be glad to take anything grown in the garden.
I hope you fall in love with gardening as we have at Little Sprouts. We LOVE trying to grow as much of our own food for the year as we can. Some years we grow 1,000 pounds, some years a few hundred. But I love knowing how healthy and fresh that food is and exactly how it was grown.
And my kids learn a ton from growing it. For the benefits of gardening with kids, click here.